Molefi Ntseki will be in charge of Bafana Bafana while SAFA look for permanent replacement. Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
In announcing the elevation of Molefi Ntseki to the position of Bafana Bafana interim coach following Stuart Baxter’s resignation, the South African Football Association (Safa) warned that finding a permanent coach could take a while.

“While it is our intention to use our best endeavours to resolve the Bafana Bafana head coach matter by the end of the month, it is to be understood that with these matters, it involves complex negotiations with the potential replacement, and therefore not always possible to resolve such matters in a short spce of time,” Safa said in a statement yesterday.

The association said they will next week announce a task team to search for a new coach.

That Safa decided to go the task team route when they have a technical team is surprising. When they appointed Baxter, they also had a task team make recommendations for a coach. But, according to some members of that team, Baxter was not among the names they had recommended.

The choice of Ntseki as a caretaker coach, however, makes sense given that there is little time to waste in preparing the squad for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers starting against Ghana and Sudan in November.

Safa’s acting chief executive Russel Paul said at Baxter’s resignation press conference on Friday that Bafana have matches coming up, and no doubt Ntseki is best suited to take over given the fact he was the assistant coach at the recently completed Afcon in Egypt where Bafana Bafana surprisingly reached the quarter-finals after knocking out the hosts.

Another reason to elevate Ntseki, Safa explained in their statement, was the man’s understanding of the association’s modus operandi given he has been there for a while.

“Given that Ntseki has been with Bafana Bafana for quite a while now, it was felt that in the interest of continuity, and given the upcoming fixtures in September, Ntseki is best placed to follow through with the foundation that has been laid by coach Baxter.”

Ntseki is also the national under-17 coach and the association believes he “is an entrenched student of Safa’s Vision 2022, having involvement with all the national teams as well over the past few years, from the under-20 men as well as Banyana Banyana and under-17 women teams.”

Coming as highly recommended as he is, there is still very little chance Ntseki will even be considered for the permanent position.

Already the chairman of the Safa technical committee Jack Maluleka had, on Friday following Baxter’s resignation, mentioned that he had a particular liking for Steve Komphela - the Golden Arrows coach who previously coached both South Africa’s national under-20 and under-23 teams as well as having led Bafana on a caretaker role and held the assistant coach position on more than one occasion.

The task team that will be announced next week will make their suggestion of their preferred candidate or candidates to the technical team whose choice will then go to the Safa national executive committee for a final decision.

No wonder the appointment of the new man will take a while.


Sunday Independent 

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